Grilled Chimichurri Chicken Salad

If it seems like there have been a lot of salad recipes making their way here lately, you are absolutely correct! July and August tend to hold some of the hottest weather we experience in Wisconsin during the year, and trying to keep things cool and healthy means gorgeous main dish salads brimming with seasonal produce from the garden, farmers markets, and CSA box are bound to take center stage.

This time around is no different, with garden glory factoring into a chimichurri marinade for the chicken and, of course, the salad base for this dish. And really, when Mother Nature turns up the heat, it only makes sense to grill the chicken for this meal instead of turning on the stove. That said, if the stove is your choice, go for it. Just make sure you make this stunning cilantro-based chimichurri and contemplate how you'll use any leftovers!

Some slices of chilled melon or grapes make a nice complement to this beautiful, healthy salad. I like to keep it light and save any extra calories in my day for a bit of ice cream or a popsicle after sunset. If I'm lucky, it will be cool enough to sit out on the patio and watch the fireflies dance. These hot, heady days of summer do, in fact, have their bright side!

Grilled Chimichurri Chicken Salad

  • ¼ c. red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 T. fresh, diced chilis (choose your heat)
  • 1 c. fresh cilantro
  • 1 c. fresh parsley
  • 1 T. fresh oregano
  • ¼ c. fresh lime juice (from 1–2 limes)
  • ¾ c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. chili flakes, optional
  • 1 lb. chicken tenderloins, cut into thin strips
  • 8 oz. kale, chopped
  • 8 oz. spinach, chopped
  • 3 radishes, halved and sliced thin
  • 8 oz. heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ c. fried onions, for topping

Combine the first 12 ingredients (red onion through chili flakes) in a food processor and process until a green paste forms. Add enough of the paste to the chicken tenderloins to generously coat them. Allow the chicken to rest, refrigerated and covered, for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. Store any remaining chimichurri paste in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week - stir it into yogurt for a nice dip, spoon over any grilled meat for a flavor kick, or add to tacos.

Prepare the grill for medium-high heat cooking. Remove the chicken from any excess chimichurri and grill until cooked through, about 15 minutes turning once. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm.

Combine the kale, spinach, radishes, and tomatoes in a bowl; set aside.

In a small resealable container, combine the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup, and salt & pepper. Seal the container and shake vigorously to combine. Add the dressing to the salad in the bowl and toss well to coat.

To assemble the salads, divide the dressed salad evenly between serving plates. Top with the grilled chicken and sprinkle with fried onions. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes